More than 4,000 companies and 140,000 visitors to attend Alimentaria trade fair
From the 25th to the 28th of April, Barcelona Gran Via will host a new edition of Alimentaria, one of the most important trade fairs in the world focusing on food and drinks and the second most important in the Catalan capital after the Mobile World Congress. Amongst the newest trends to be featured in 2016 are superfoods, local food and organics. The event is also celebrating its 40th anniversary with several novelties, the most prominent of which is the Multiple Foods trade fair, a more diverse exhibition which will bring together different companies. Additionally added are beverage and frozen food manufacturers in Restaurama, Vinorum Think, and Halal Concept. The exhibition has a projected economic impact of 170 million euros for Barcelona, already manifesting in the high hotel reservations.
Barcelona (CNA).- The 2016 Alimentaria International Food and Drinks Exhibition opened this Monday and will run until the 28th, at the Gran Via Fira Barcelona Venue. 140,000 visitors and 4,000 companies from 70 countries are expected to attend the event. This year, trends revolve around organic products and local, less processed food. Additionally in demand are superfoods, i.e. products that function to boost well-being and prevent illness. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Alimentaria has added many new features to the exhibition such as the Multiple Foods trade fair, which will be held in three of the six operating pavilions of the Fair and will bring together multiproduct companies by channel, category of product or market trends. The economic impact of the fair in Barcelona is set at 170 million euros, a sum which is already manifesting in the 90% booking rates seen in participating hotels.
This year, the event celebrates its 40th anniversary and the organisers hope to “achieve the most international, innovative and gastronomic edition in its history”. Alimentaria 2016, the second most important fair in Barcelona after the Mobile World Congress, is expecting 140,000 visitors, of which 40,000 are projected to be foreigners. With the more than 10,000 business meetings held between exhibitors and key buyers, Alimentaria´s goal is to bring together the latest releases in the industry and to show the main trends in the sector, including of course gastronomy and food service as its main allies.
This year, the organisation has increased its investment by 35% to invite 800 key buyers directly from different countries, such as major importers and operators of the HORECA (HOtel/REstaurant/CAfé) food industry distribution channel. Trade offers will be hosted in the traditional venues divided by products and sectors, which will span the 90,000 metres square of the exhibition. These are represented by Intervin (wine and spirits), Intercarn (meat and derivatives), Restaurama (restaurant industry) and Interlact (dairy products and derivatives). The exhibition´s most recent and diverse addition, Multiple Foods, will bring together half of the companies participating in the fair grouped by areas of specialty.
Multiple Foods is to include regional participators (regions of Spain) alongside international pavilions, as well as other market segments. Among other participants one will be able to see Healthy Foods (organic and functional food for infants and special needs children), Fine Foods (gourmet), Mediterranean Foods (oils, fruit, and vegetables), Snacks, Biscuits & Confectionery (sweets and snacks), Expoconser (canned and semi-perishable), as well as Premium, which will feature a dozen selected haute cuisine firms. As yet another novelty, Alimentaria is now adding beverage and frozen food manufacturers to the Restaurama sector.
Main market trends
The Alimentaria Experience space will feature some of the most established names in the restaurant industry, such as award-winning Joan Roca and Ángel León. Additionally, however, it will promote young and rising talent such as Ana Merino, Beatriz Sotelo, Eduard Xatruch, Oriol Castro and Virgili Martínez, which form a group of 40 chefs which will participate in workshops and exhibitions to try and demonstrate new trends in gastronomy.
Alimentaria is inaugurating yet another space in this new edition to celebrate its anniversary: Vinorum Think. The wine-centric exhibition will unveil the latest developments in the industry and feature trend-setting Spanish wines and advice on how to break into key markets. Leading the panel will be experts, wine critics, oenologists, sommeliers and chefs, carrying out talks, tastings and cooking demonstrations. A gourmet olive oil tasting bar and the exhibition ‘Spain, the country of 100 cheeses’ are set to complete the gastronomic experience.
The fair is also breaking new ground this year by including the Halal concept to its collection of exhibitions, to enhance the knowledge of products grouped under this denomination and to become a meeting point for both visitors and exporters. The three scheduled activities are Halal Supermarket, Halal Congress and Halal Showcooking.
The Alimentaria Hub, alongside the Innoval space as reference, will be central for learning about new trends, innovations, and business aspects of the industry. The two hubs will measure trends such as those concerning local and organic products and issues of natural and ecological interest, such as the pursuit of new sources of protein. The organisation plans to carry out more than 200 activities and to host more than 10,000 business meetings with international buyers.
At the Innoval centre, 300 new products showcased will display expected trends in nutrition in the coming years. The centre itself aims to act as a barometer for future trends, such as, for example, pea-based snacks and pastries with chlorella, a protein-rich alga. Additionally on the list of the possible future of gastronomy are: the first organic vermouth in the world, a handmade wild strawberry tonic, vegetarian sausages and frankfurters, meat and cheese substitutes for vegans, biscuits to help reduce cholesterol, natural bread made from organic artichokes, and instant coffee with magnesium to help fight fatigue.
An economic impact of 170 million euros
Alimentaria 2016 will have an economic impact of 170 million euros for the Catalan capital, according to data provided by the organisation. One can already see this with the hotels of Barcelona, which are already approximately 90% full, partly thanks to the 140,000 visitors of the exhibition. In fact, the food and beverage industry is the industrial sector with the highest turnover in Spain, with 2014 sales marked at 93,000 million euros. This figure marks a 1.9% increase from the previous year, representing almost 3% of the country’s GDP.
Metro strike and mobility
To coincide with the Alimentaria fair, the main unions of the Barcelona Metro have called for two days of partial strikes on the 26th and the 27th of April, “as a measure of pressure against the suspension of negotiations on the collective agreement”. Additionally organised is a march on the 27th of April. However, to guarantee the mobility of Alimentaria fair visitors, shuttle bus services have been contracted to run between the main hotels hosting participants and visitors and the Gran Via Fira Barcelona Venue. The organisation has also increased the parking capacity of the venue and has worked with the authorities to improve the traffic light functioning in the area.